Under the Radar

174: Always-On Apple Watch


00:00:00   Welcome to Under the Radar, a show about independent iOS app

00:00:03   development.

00:00:04   I'm Marco Arment.

00:00:05   And I'm David Smith.

00:00:06   Under the Radar is never longer than 30 minutes,

00:00:08   so let's get started.

00:00:09   So before we get into our main topic for this week, which

00:00:13   I think is a pretty good one, just

00:00:14   to keep you on the edge of your seat for this,

00:00:18   I wanted to mention that September is Childhood Cancer

00:00:22   Awareness Month.

00:00:23   And Under the Radar, like all the Real AFM shows,

00:00:27   are coming together this month to show our support for this

00:00:30   and to try and raise money for St. Jude's Research Hospital.

00:00:36   St. Jude's Research Hospital is kind of an amazing organization

00:00:40   that takes care of kids who have cancer at no cost to them

00:00:45   or their families, that is doing research and development

00:00:49   to try and stop cancer from killing any children, which

00:00:54   is just a tremendous and wonderful direction that they're

00:00:57   going.

00:00:58   And their treatments have been dramatically successful.

00:01:00   They've been able to raise the survival rate for some children's

00:01:06   cancers from 20% to 80% since they opened 50 years ago.

00:01:10   And they're not going to stop until they

00:01:12   can get that number all the way up to 100.

00:01:15   And so this is a cause that Real AFM and all of its shows

00:01:19   and its hosts are supporting this month.

00:01:21   And we're just encouraging listeners to support it.

00:01:24   And if you have the means and the interest and the ability,

00:01:27   we would love for you to go to stjude.org/relay

00:01:30   and donate to them and support them in their work

00:01:33   and just to help kids get the care they

00:01:38   need at no cost to them.

00:01:41   So our actual topic that we're going to dive into now

00:01:45   is talking a little bit about the new devices

00:01:48   that we actually got announced, I guess, on September 10th

00:01:53   this year.

00:01:55   And this was the iPhone--

00:01:57   if I can get the names right--

00:01:59   the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro, the iPhone 11 Max.

00:02:04   And then on the Apple Watch--

00:02:05   11 Pro Max.

00:02:06   11 Pro Max.

00:02:07   You need more words because it's maximum words.

00:02:09   It's maximum words.

00:02:11   So we got that on the iPhone.

00:02:12   And then on the Apple Watch, we got the Series 5 Apple Watch,

00:02:16   which I think I'm going to start on the Apple Watch

00:02:18   because I kind of love that we--

00:02:20   so a couple of shows back, we spent a whole episode

00:02:24   talking about essentially spending

00:02:27   Dan Riccio's hardware budget.

00:02:29   We were sort of both a little bit of, I guess,

00:02:31   guessing as well as predicting.

00:02:33   And there's a little bit of wishful thinking.

00:02:35   We were thinking about what might

00:02:36   keep coming down the road for us, what this Apple Watch could

00:02:39   be, and kind of found it in a positive way

00:02:42   that I don't think either of us would have guessed.

00:02:46   We kind of got one of the big things we talked about,

00:02:49   which is an Always On Display, which is something that I think

00:02:52   has been a glaring kind of limitation of the past

00:02:58   generations of Apple Watch.

00:02:59   And I think it's very exciting in terms

00:03:01   of what it means for the device and the use cases for it.

00:03:06   And some-- I'll get into a bit of third party opportunities

00:03:11   for it.

00:03:11   I think it's really exciting that that's

00:03:13   where they went to spend their budget this year, which

00:03:15   is very cool.

00:03:16   And kind of an amusing side note to that

00:03:19   is because that's where they sort of went

00:03:21   to spend their energy and their new effort this year,

00:03:26   sleep tracking is still nowhere to be seen.

00:03:28   Sleep++ is still in the clear on the Sherlocking front.

00:03:32   And that continues.

00:03:34   It's like the watch for that continues for another who

00:03:38   knows how long.

00:03:40   Yeah, I mean, this is not, I think, what anybody expected.

00:03:42   I mean, I think all of us really thought sleep tracking

00:03:46   was very likely to happen.

00:03:47   And I don't think anybody thought an Always On screen was

00:03:52   in the cards for this year or any time soon.

00:03:54   It seemed like it just required too much power

00:03:57   compared to what we already had and what capabilities

00:03:59   were and everything.

00:03:59   It seemed like it was too far off.

00:04:01   And so that's why I believe when we mentioned it,

00:04:03   we even said as much, like, yeah, this probably

00:04:05   won't happen.

00:04:06   So it's great news on a number of fronts.

00:04:08   And to me, I mean, neither of us have had a chance

00:04:12   to actually see or use these yet because they aren't actually

00:04:14   in customers' hands yet.

00:04:15   But I'm going to go out on a limb here

00:04:18   and suggest that this is going to dramatically change what

00:04:21   it's like to own an Apple Watch.

00:04:23   That seems like a very safe limb to be on.

00:04:25   Yeah, like, yeah, right?

00:04:27   I'm going to go out on, like, a bridge.

00:04:29   Because so much of the Apple Watch

00:04:34   has been defined by its incredibly tight power budget

00:04:39   and its need to conserve power at all costs.

00:04:41   And this thing that you just kind of occasionally

00:04:45   get a few seconds of, and then it has to go away.

00:04:47   Because it can't possibly afford to show you

00:04:49   more than a few seconds worth of data very often.

00:04:52   And there's this constant annoyance

00:04:54   as an Apple Watch wearer of you have

00:04:57   to glance at it to see something on it,

00:04:59   like the time or something it's tracking,

00:05:01   and the screen doesn't turn on.

00:05:02   And you have to do that exaggerated arm motion.

00:05:04   This has been, like, the constant annoyance

00:05:06   of wearing an Apple Watch since they came out.

00:05:09   And so for the always on screen, I'm

00:05:11   sure it's not going to be perfect.

00:05:12   I'm sure there's going to be limitations.

00:05:14   It's not going to have, like, animations and lots of fast

00:05:17   updating data and everything.

00:05:18   But to be able to just glance at it

00:05:20   and to have it always be showing you at least the time

00:05:24   and some kind of complication data there,

00:05:27   even if it isn't live animated the whole time,

00:05:30   that is a dramatic change for the better of what it's

00:05:35   like to wear an Apple Watch.

00:05:36   And so it's-- and that closes one of the biggest gaps

00:05:40   between not only the Apple Watch and some other, like,

00:05:43   smart watches that are on the market,

00:05:45   but also it closes one of the biggest gaps

00:05:46   between the Apple Watch and regular watches.

00:05:48   Because that's one of the reasons I like regular watches

00:05:50   so much is they are always showing me the time.

00:05:52   I never have to do a weird arm motion to see it.

00:05:55   I just look, and it's always there.

00:05:57   For the Apple Watch to have that, too, is, I think,

00:06:00   fantastic.

00:06:01   And it's going to dramatically improve what it's

00:06:04   like to wear an Apple Watch.

00:06:05   Yeah, and I think it changes the--

00:06:09   Yeah, it's just-- what I think is most interesting

00:06:11   is that it changes what the device is in terms of the way

00:06:17   that it is, like--

00:06:19   the way it manifests itself in public, I guess, too.

00:06:23   I think about how the Apple Watch previously

00:06:26   was something that would--

00:06:29   like, it was still very much like your phone in the sense

00:06:33   that it was only live and active when you were working on it,

00:06:36   when you were looking at it, when you were interacting

00:06:39   with it.

00:06:41   It wasn't a device that was ever externally

00:06:45   visible to the world in the sense that, you know,

00:06:48   it's like, other than it occasionally would accidentally

00:06:50   come on, generally, it was only you that would see this--

00:06:53   the watch screen.

00:06:54   I think it is going to be interesting, though, to see

00:06:57   when-- like, Always On is amazing and great for so

00:06:59   many reasons.

00:07:00   And I think, honestly, in a positive sense,

00:07:04   it is now like the display of the Apple Watch,

00:07:06   the display of which watch face you choose,

00:07:09   what complications you put on there, what data is being shown

00:07:12   there.

00:07:13   The styling and the design of those now

00:07:16   is something that is on display, which is kind of cool,

00:07:22   but I think will be an adjustment period, certainly,

00:07:24   because--

00:07:25   and I think I saw in Rene Ritchie's--

00:07:28   he had a review of the Series 5 Apple Watch

00:07:30   that he put up today.

00:07:31   And I think he talked about this that I thought

00:07:32   was a really interesting point, is

00:07:34   it now is part-- like, previously, the case design

00:07:38   and the strap were the two parts of the fashion of the Apple

00:07:43   Watch.

00:07:44   That's how you sort of dealt with the fashion, the way

00:07:48   that it appears to the world.

00:07:49   Now, the watch face you choose is just

00:07:52   as much a part of that.

00:07:54   And in the same way that if you were to buy a traditional Apple

00:07:56   Watch--

00:07:57   sorry, if you buy a traditional watch,

00:08:01   the color of the face is an important part of that.

00:08:04   It isn't just the color of the case and the strap.

00:08:07   It's like, what does the actual face look like?

00:08:09   What kind of hands does it have?

00:08:12   Does it have things on it?

00:08:13   That is now something that is part

00:08:14   of the visual design and the aesthetic of the device.

00:08:18   And I think that is very interesting,

00:08:20   and I think is going to be a huge difference in terms

00:08:24   of how people interact with the device, in addition to just,

00:08:26   it's really cool, and it gets rid of these annoying situations

00:08:29   where there's so many that come to mind.

00:08:34   I'm on the train holding on to one of those little,

00:08:38   I don't know, little pole on the train

00:08:40   to keep you from falling over and trying

00:08:41   to see what time it is or whatever.

00:08:43   And you can't because you have to let go to turn your wrist

00:08:46   or you're trying to do it in a way that doesn't

00:08:49   elbow the person next to you.

00:08:50   That's great.

00:08:51   You don't have to do that.

00:08:53   Or you're working out.

00:08:54   There's many situations where you have the ability

00:08:58   to now just see the display while you're working out,

00:09:04   while you're holding a weird position,

00:09:06   while you're doing something.

00:09:07   Or even just you never will have to think about how

00:09:12   to activate your screen.

00:09:13   Because even I've had it when I'm not doing something

00:09:15   like awkwardly holding a plank or doing something

00:09:18   where I can't turn my wrist, sometimes I'm out for a run

00:09:22   and I'll raise my wrist and it doesn't quite catch it,

00:09:24   because it's a much more dynamic situation.

00:09:26   There's a lot of movement going on in that situation,

00:09:28   and sometimes the algorithm that's

00:09:29   using it to catch the turn doesn't catch.

00:09:32   And if that's the case, then it's annoying.

00:09:34   And then I'm stopping my flow of what

00:09:36   I'm thinking about when I'm running.

00:09:38   And I have to look at this, do it again, or tap the screen,

00:09:41   or try and do something like that.

00:09:43   And so there's so many cool things

00:09:46   that are coming out of it as a result.

00:09:48   And I'm very thankful to Dan Ritchie,

00:09:52   for that's how he chose to spend his budget this year.

00:09:55   Obviously, he heard our show two weeks ago.

00:09:58   Exactly.

00:09:58   I think we can claim credit for this.

00:10:01   Any time you talk about the thing before it happens,

00:10:05   that's because you did it, right?

00:10:06   So yes, clearly this is how it happened.

00:10:10   But I think it's very interesting.

00:10:13   And I look forward to Apple expanding the capability

00:10:16   for third parties with this.

00:10:18   Obviously, for years you've talked about third party

00:10:21   watch faces would be a great thing.

00:10:23   But even just as it is, I believe right now,

00:10:26   third party apps don't have quite the same always

00:10:29   on capabilities as the built in workout app, for example.

00:10:34   But I'm sure that's something that will come down the road.

00:10:37   It's like, I doubt Apple is unaware that that

00:10:39   would be awesome.

00:10:40   And so I'm sure it'll come down at some point down the road,

00:10:43   even if not right out the gate.

00:10:45   Yeah, because for me, both as a user and as a developer

00:10:49   especially, so much about the Apple Watch's frustrations

00:10:53   as a software platform are that you're not really allowed

00:10:57   to update your app ever in the background very often

00:11:01   or update complications very much.

00:11:03   There's so many limitations in place for throttling

00:11:05   or limiting how much your app is actually allowed

00:11:08   to update itself or update what's shown on screen.

00:11:10   And to have any sign of those being lifted,

00:11:14   first of all, what this does is it makes complications

00:11:19   a heck of a lot more useful than they were before.

00:11:21   - Sure, because in the same way that the Apple Watch

00:11:24   was always a little bit mediocre at telling time

00:11:26   for this reason.

00:11:27   That like, 'cause I don't think there has been a single day

00:11:31   that I have worn the Apple Watch where there wasn't

00:11:33   at least once where I tried to get the screen to turn on

00:11:36   in some way and it didn't.

00:11:38   Like that has happened to me at least once a day.

00:11:41   Every single day I've worn the Apple Watch.

00:11:43   And so, and I have something that's common.

00:11:45   Like as you were saying, awkward positions or if you're like,

00:11:49   mine was simple things like if you're carrying something

00:11:51   in your hand and you wanna see what time it is

00:11:53   as you're carrying something, you can't move your hand

00:11:55   that much 'cause it's carrying something.

00:11:57   And so you'd like, you know, you'd like try to tell it

00:11:59   a little bit or you'd like tap your nose against the Apple.

00:12:02   - Ah, the nose tap.

00:12:03   - They're like, it's just like all sorts of things

00:12:04   you would need to try to do to try to see what time it was

00:12:07   or check something on the face.

00:12:09   And so like, this just, not only does this improve

00:12:12   time telling, but this also dramatically improves

00:12:16   anything else you would be looking at the watch screen

00:12:18   to see, which for many of us is gonna be data

00:12:20   from complications.

00:12:22   And so that makes complications a heck of a lot more useful

00:12:26   than they were before.

00:12:27   Unfortunately, the APIs are still very limited.

00:12:32   What developers are able and allowed to do on the watch

00:12:35   is still extremely limited, especially in the realm

00:12:37   of complications.

00:12:38   And so I really hope that over time, as this hardware,

00:12:43   you know, trickles down the line and gets more

00:12:45   of the installed base and as it gets even better

00:12:47   in the future and we hopefully have even more

00:12:49   of Dan Ritchie's power budget to spend,

00:12:51   I really hope that we see a similar advancement

00:12:54   in what the APIs allow the apps to do in the first place.

00:12:57   - Yeah, I think that's true.

00:12:59   And I mean, I will say though, I think the complication

00:13:03   APIs can be sort of turned and twisted in odd ways

00:13:08   to make them more capable than they sort of

00:13:12   superficially appear.

00:13:14   This is just coming from like, there's all these,

00:13:16   like the things they deal with, like a lot of the,

00:13:20   sort of the complication system was originally built

00:13:22   with time travel as one of the like core features

00:13:25   that Apple thought would be cool that turned out not--

00:13:27   - Yeah, that terrible feature where you like,

00:13:29   you turn the digital crown to travel forward or backward

00:13:31   in time on your watch face.

00:13:32   - Yeah, and so like, one of the things that as a result

00:13:35   of that is they had to make a complication system

00:13:36   where you could like move forward and back in time,

00:13:39   which most people turn that off anymore,

00:13:41   but we still have that feature.

00:13:42   And so like, you can still do some cool things now

00:13:44   where you can set a complications to change an update

00:13:48   at times in the future, even if you aren't woken up

00:13:51   for background refresh, which depending on the context

00:13:54   is like useful or unuseful.

00:13:55   You know, obviously this is not a way to show live

00:13:58   and active data, but there are things that you can show

00:14:00   with that.

00:14:01   And I think this is the thing that I'm looking at it

00:14:03   as I like see that this is the Apple watch

00:14:06   and I cannot wait till Friday when I get my hands on one

00:14:09   is there has to be more opportunities for developers now.

00:14:14   Like it's just one of these things that I see this

00:14:16   in this new device and like, I don't know how I'm gonna

00:14:19   do it and I don't know exactly what I'm gonna do yet,

00:14:21   but I am just like, absolutely confident there has to be

00:14:24   some new and cool things that the watch is gonna be able

00:14:27   to do and there's gotta be opportunities for us as a result.

00:14:31   And it may involve as watch development often does,

00:14:34   weird hacks and crazy workarounds.

00:14:37   But you know, if you've, I've been working on the Apple

00:14:40   watch for, you know, since the series zero watch

00:14:43   with all the crazy hacks, like when the entire system

00:14:46   was a crazy hack and a weird workaround.

00:14:49   So I think that's just gonna be part of the course,

00:14:51   but I think it is still very interesting to see

00:14:54   where this goes and to see kind of like what we can do

00:14:58   now that we have a watch that's always on.

00:14:59   And a watch that people are going to, yeah, like it's,

00:15:02   that becomes always visible and will sort of catch

00:15:05   other people's eye and I think like honestly,

00:15:08   one of the things that I think is interesting is how

00:15:10   previously most people, when you see someone else

00:15:13   wearing an Apple watch, it's always just a black square,

00:15:17   which is entirely unappealing.

00:15:19   Like, you're like, if you're just out walking

00:15:22   and you see someone with an Apple watch, you never saw,

00:15:25   like, it didn't look visually interesting.

00:15:27   It was just, that person has a black screen

00:15:29   strapped to their wrist.

00:15:31   And so now that's not the case.

00:15:33   Like when you see there's gonna be something there

00:15:35   and that's kind of cool.

00:15:37   Like to grab your eye, to show you something interesting,

00:15:40   to, for some reason for it to be a bit more compelling.

00:15:43   So anyway, I'm very excited.

00:15:45   - Also, and you brushed past this a little while ago,

00:15:47   but also I feel like that because you're now showing

00:15:50   the world much more than the typical black square

00:15:52   than you were showing them before,

00:15:54   you might have different choices of even what watch face

00:15:56   and what complications you put on there.

00:15:58   Because now it is part of your look,

00:16:00   it is part of your outfit in a way that it never was before.

00:16:04   You know, people might see your screen for two seconds,

00:16:06   but for the most part you would never know

00:16:07   what watch face somebody used, you know,

00:16:08   unless you were paying very close attention

00:16:10   and they would move their arms in a funny way.

00:16:11   But like for the most part you would never know.

00:16:13   Now it's gonna be right there on display

00:16:15   the way a regular watch is.

00:16:16   So like you might choose maybe a visually simpler face

00:16:20   or you might try better to color match the face

00:16:22   to what you're wearing or to the strap or to your style.

00:16:26   You know, and personally like I think one of the things

00:16:28   I'm a little bit sad about with the Apple Watch right now

00:16:31   is that there are very few watch faces I really like on it.

00:16:35   Like before it was like here's this like,

00:16:37   this utility mini phone that you could wear

00:16:39   on your wrist and it would serve useful functions

00:16:42   and the faces were fairly mediocre,

00:16:43   each one had some kind of major flaw about it,

00:16:45   but it wasn't that big of a deal

00:16:46   'cause you weren't seeing the face that much really.

00:16:48   Now you're seeing the face more and so not only does

00:16:51   I think this make the chances of getting third party

00:16:54   watch faces lower in a technical way in that Apple now

00:16:58   has to worry a lot about the complexity of a watch face

00:17:01   and how much white content it uses versus how much black

00:17:04   and et cetera for power reasons.

00:17:05   So I think that's going to dramatically reduce

00:17:09   the chances that they ever allow third party faces.

00:17:11   But also because the watch face is now so much more

00:17:15   important to the look and the functionality

00:17:19   and the individuality of the watch and the fashion of it,

00:17:22   I think there's more need than ever

00:17:24   for third party watch faces.

00:17:26   You know, 'cause now like you're going to look around

00:17:29   and see so many of the same things as you already did

00:17:31   with the Apple Watch which is already a problem,

00:17:32   but like I as an individual, I want so much more control

00:17:36   over that watch face than what they're going to give me.

00:17:40   And I think it's kind of a shame that we have this amazing

00:17:43   hardware, finally we have Always On Screens,

00:17:46   and we're still stuck with the same like very small

00:17:48   handful of very like gimmicky and mostly not that useful

00:17:52   watch faces and the few that are useful all have

00:17:54   pretty substantial limitations and flaws.

00:17:56   - Sure, and I will say I think, I don't think that,

00:18:00   I suspect that Apple is very aware of this.

00:18:03   Like obviously, and then I think one of two things

00:18:05   in my hope would be that coming soon to watchOS.

00:18:07   I would love to see, obviously some kind of third party

00:18:10   opportunity there would be amazing, but if not,

00:18:12   even just them to have a update to watchOS at some point,

00:18:17   whether that's a point release to six or seven next June,

00:18:21   where they have clearly like sent off a crack team

00:18:26   of engineers and designers and just like overhauled

00:18:30   the watch system and how customizable it is

00:18:33   and how flexible it is from top to bottom.

00:18:35   Like either scenario I would be happy with.

00:18:37   Obviously, as a person who would love to make watch faces,

00:18:40   I'd like the former, but even if I'm the last one,

00:18:42   like there's so many faces where like the number of fonts

00:18:46   that you can use to display the time is like is two or three.

00:18:51   Like there is a world of font out there that like sometimes

00:18:56   I wanna feel fancy and like San Francisco is a lot of things,

00:18:59   but it doesn't feel fancy, like it's nice,

00:19:04   but it's utilitarian.

00:19:05   It feels good when I'm like trying to get stuff done,

00:19:09   but it's not the kind of font that you kind of get

00:19:13   that sense of this beautiful serif like old timey font

00:19:18   to make you feel like your watch is old.

00:19:21   Like those are the kinds of things that I would love

00:19:23   to see them move into, so we'll see.

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00:20:34   of this show and Relay FM.

00:20:36   So I'm curious, as somebody, I think you are probably

00:20:41   the person who has unquestionably built, by far,

00:20:45   the most watch OS apps and almost certainly

00:20:49   the most watch OS complications.

00:20:52   And probably the most custom watch faces as well.

00:20:55   (laughs)

00:20:56   Even though it's not even really the thing

00:20:57   that we can actually do yet.

00:20:58   So I'm curious, are you gonna look at the world

00:21:02   of complications differently now?

00:21:06   Are there different considerations of how you can do this?

00:21:09   Are there any new markets that might open up now

00:21:12   with an Always On screen or does it just kinda

00:21:13   make everything else better that we already had?

00:21:16   - I mean, I'm hopeful that it will open new opportunities.

00:21:19   I think the thing that I am, like right now

00:21:22   in my development, I am in the process of,

00:21:24   I'm sort of updating and shipping all of my,

00:21:28   you know, like my compatibility updates

00:21:30   and trying to sort of clear the decks now that I know

00:21:32   what the final hardware is.

00:21:33   We have GMC2 of Xcode that I can build with.

00:21:37   Like, things are good there.

00:21:39   And then I think the next thing that I'm going

00:21:42   to be working on, and something that I'm very excited

00:21:43   to be working on, is making the existing complications

00:21:48   in my current apps as well as potentially making

00:21:52   some more apps that do things with complications,

00:21:54   but making that very customizable, very flexible,

00:21:56   and very like custom to the person.

00:22:01   Because I think, and this was, you know,

00:22:03   as you mentioned earlier, I had a couple month bender

00:22:07   where I just kept making custom watch faces,

00:22:10   which you can't actually do, but they're just apps

00:22:11   that run, but you can have them, the Apple Watch

00:22:13   always return to the, you know, a particular app

00:22:17   rather than to a watch face.

00:22:18   So you can kind of pretend that you have a custom watch face.

00:22:22   And the thing that I found from that experience

00:22:23   that was so like transformative for the watch for me,

00:22:26   and this is, you know, not even always on,

00:22:28   but was that it was delightful for the watch

00:22:31   to be exactly what I wanted it to be right then.

00:22:35   That it wasn't me choosing from a set,

00:22:40   a limited set of options and opportunities

00:22:43   for customization, that I could choose the color

00:22:45   and that's about it for a lot of the built-in watch faces.

00:22:50   I could do anything I wanted, obviously,

00:22:52   because I'm building a custom watch face.

00:22:53   And so I could make that.

00:22:54   And what I would love to do, I think,

00:22:56   and this is, I think, the opportunity for developers now,

00:22:59   is complications will be a, you know,

00:23:04   a persistent part of someone, of a user's day now.

00:23:07   That is something that will be visible to them

00:23:09   and to the world the entire day

00:23:12   that they're wearing their Apple Watch.

00:23:13   And so making that experience as custom

00:23:16   and as fluid and as personal as possible,

00:23:20   I think is something that I wanna do.

00:23:21   And that can take a variety of forms.

00:23:24   It's like in, you know, the simplest version

00:23:26   is like in pedometer++, I'm just working on a way

00:23:30   to choose exactly what gets displayed there,

00:23:34   some visual choices in terms of how you want,

00:23:37   you know, if you want it to be a graph,

00:23:39   if you want it to have a dial,

00:23:41   and some of these, depending on what the complication

00:23:44   family supports, for some of them,

00:23:45   I'm gonna even let you choose like different fonts

00:23:48   or different sort of choices like that.

00:23:50   I'm working on, and this is something

00:23:52   that I've really enjoyed with some of the new

00:23:54   light background Apple Watch faces that you can get now,

00:23:58   with like especially the Meridian face,

00:23:59   I think is my new favorite face.

00:24:00   I like, I loved California over the summer,

00:24:02   but Meridian is my new favorite

00:24:05   'cause it has like just enough complications

00:24:07   to be interesting and fun, but not so many

00:24:10   that it's like crazy utility watch,

00:24:13   and like it's really cool when you kind of blend

00:24:16   the complication into the background,

00:24:18   and it kind of makes it look almost like

00:24:20   it's a physical object rather than a computer display.

00:24:24   And so I think for me, I'm just gonna keep exploring

00:24:26   and pushing this to see where we can go,

00:24:30   because I think that's the opportunity

00:24:31   is in customization, personalization.

00:24:34   I mean, this goes all the way back to the very first

00:24:37   Apple Watch introduction keynote,

00:24:40   Steve, you know, like Johnny Ive in a white room

00:24:42   was talking about making the most personal device ever,

00:24:45   and like this is the next incarnation of that, I think,

00:24:49   is making the way that the watch face looks

00:24:54   as personal as possible.

00:24:55   And maybe I'm just in the bargaining phase

00:24:57   of third-party watch faces where like

00:24:59   I don't know if it's ever gonna come,

00:25:01   and so I'm just like making the best of what I can,

00:25:03   using like kind of abusing the complication system,

00:25:06   but I have a suspicion that a little bit of creativity

00:25:10   and a little bit of like maybe banging my head

00:25:12   against the wall, ultimately it's gonna be possible

00:25:15   to make things that are kind of cool and interesting

00:25:17   and compelling in the, you know, using complications

00:25:20   that'll always be visible there,

00:25:21   and that'll make the watch like be something

00:25:25   that feels more personal to someone,

00:25:27   that it makes them more connected,

00:25:28   and if that's connecting them more personally

00:25:31   to like fitness metrics, like that seems awesome.

00:25:35   Like if they're being made aware of their activity rings

00:25:39   or their step count or whatever kind of,

00:25:42   you know, what their last workout is,

00:25:43   if they have worked out that day,

00:25:45   like there's lots of things that you can kind of imagine

00:25:47   that it becomes this kind of more persistent

00:25:49   kind of little nudge that sounds great too.

00:25:52   So it can be like positive on the design side

00:25:54   as well as not otherwise, so anyway.

00:25:55   That's like my hope, I guess, is that it'll be,

00:25:59   it's a fun opportunity there.

00:26:00   I don't know if it'll, from a business perspective

00:26:02   and for financially if there's a good market

00:26:03   or if it'll be interesting in that respect.

00:26:06   I suspect it'll probably be like most watchOS things,

00:26:08   a little bit complicated, but we'll see.

00:26:12   - Yeah, and I think ultimately,

00:26:15   what I hope to see out of this is, you know,

00:26:19   if we don't have full-blown third-party faces,

00:26:22   I hope to see a ton more customization

00:26:26   of the built-in faces than we have now.

00:26:28   Lots more options about things like colors

00:26:32   and whether the complications on each face

00:26:35   are full color or monochrome,

00:26:37   we have some that we can customize the dial colors on.

00:26:42   Let us customize the hands colors also.

00:26:44   You know, stuff like that.

00:26:45   Like right now, I have little nitpicks

00:26:48   about almost every single face on the app.

00:26:50   I still don't like the way that the text curves around

00:26:53   the old faces on the new watches.

00:26:55   Like stuff like that, there's something wrong

00:26:57   with all of them.

00:26:58   And if Apple really is not gonna let us customize

00:27:00   the faces fully from a third-party angle,

00:27:03   make more customization options that are built in.

00:27:06   And secondly, I hope to see what you're gonna do

00:27:08   and what people like you and what other

00:27:10   other people are gonna do.

00:27:11   And maybe Apple will do it too, although I doubt it.

00:27:13   It's not their style, but let me customize

00:27:15   how a complication shows its data,

00:27:18   how it looks, what it says, what it doesn't say.

00:27:23   There is so much room there.

00:27:25   The complications that are built into the watch

00:27:27   are largely so mediocre and kind of all over the map

00:27:31   with both quality, design, and even like the style.

00:27:36   Like there are certain ones, like the ones that go

00:27:38   in the modern-ish round slots that are on

00:27:41   the Infograph faces, why don't they all

00:27:44   follow a consistent style?

00:27:45   Like my current utility style face

00:27:49   is the Infograph modular, and I have

00:27:53   the two weather things that have like the little circle

00:27:55   with the dot in the middle of it,

00:27:57   and then I have the workout one,

00:27:58   which doesn't have an outline,

00:27:59   and it's a filled green circle with a person.

00:28:02   It's like, why don't those match their styles?

00:28:05   - Sure. - And why can't,

00:28:06   and if they're not gonna do it all the time,

00:28:07   why can't I change it?

00:28:08   You know, like there's stuff like that that I just want,

00:28:12   this is now so, it's so much more important now

00:28:15   that we have the Always On screen,

00:28:16   it's so much more important that you can find

00:28:19   a design that you like, and we have,

00:28:22   it seems like we have like fewer

00:28:23   customization choices than ever.

00:28:25   - Yeah, and I think there, there's something

00:28:27   that I'm starting to feel too with watch faces,

00:28:29   is the difficulty is giving a watch face

00:28:33   with like disparate complications a sense of harmony.

00:28:36   - Yes, it's very hard.

00:28:39   - Like I feel like that's the thing that,

00:28:41   like when I get it right, like when I'm sitting there

00:28:43   and like juggling all the things,

00:28:44   and like using the settings that I can,

00:28:46   or like building stuff from scratch,

00:28:47   like when it hits and it feels harmonious,

00:28:51   like it's beautiful, like it is actually something

00:28:54   that's like wow, I am delighted that this is on my wrist.

00:28:57   I'm delighted that this is something

00:28:58   that I get to look at every day.

00:29:01   But to your point, when it's inharmonious,

00:29:04   when things feel kind of a little different,

00:29:06   or where it's just too one direction or another,

00:29:10   like it can, like I personally don't love

00:29:12   how vibrant the Infograph like, I don't know,

00:29:15   like theme is, I wish that Infograph was a bit more low key.

00:29:19   And Apple sort of did that, but like the way they did it

00:29:23   is with the same old like two part image system,

00:29:25   and like, yeah, like, I think, right, like,

00:29:28   I want harmony, I want it to look good,

00:29:31   and I think if Apple gets there,

00:29:33   this is such a tremendous opportunity,

00:29:35   and it's something that I think is gonna be so fun

00:29:37   to work on for the next year.

00:29:39   You know, until next summer when we start

00:29:41   to spend Dan Ritchie's budget on whatever else

00:29:43   we come up with.

00:29:44   (laughing)

00:29:45   - Yep, all right, thanks for listening everybody,

00:29:48   and we'll talk to you next week.

00:29:49   - Bye.

00:29:50   [BLANK_AUDIO]